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Posted on November 11th, 2021 in Economic & Business Development

~ by Heather Strohm, Regional Extension Educator, Community Development – Purdue University

 

America is scattered with small companies, and they compose the culture that defines our communities. A business retention and expansion program is designed to ensure the sustainability of businesses within particular communities and regions. Business Retention and Expansion, BR&E, programs are meant to stimulate the economy through data-led, decision-making models and interventions.

Goals of the Purdue Business Retention and Expansion Program are:

  1. Aid Indiana communities in analyzing their local economies;
  2. Utilize this data/information as a basis for identifying, designing and implementing strategies that can help strengthen existing businesses and industries; and
  3. Guide the community’s process of implementing the program by providing a BR&E coach/mentor to come alongside community stakeholders, moving the effort forward to completion and equipping the person (or entity) who emerges as the local BR&E coordinator

Why Conduct Business Retention and Expansion?

  • To assist businesses by identifying and responding to their immediate issues and concerns through an assessment/referral process and targeted technical assistance
  • To identify and respond to businesses that may be planning to close, sell, move, or expand
  • To implement improvements to community-level services and support for local businesses
  • To collect business/market ideas data as a part of a broader planning process
  • To foster and enhance the environment for business growth and development
  • To collect and analyze existing business and workforce data to develop a better understanding of the local economy, as well as its role in the regional and state economy
  • To survey and connect with local residents to cultivate an understanding of the local economy and buy-in for community support for local businesses.

There are five modules in the program. Over the next several months, this newsletter will delve into the components of the BR&E program – and how it can be beneficial to communities.

  • Module 1 (Organize Task Force): Overview of the Program and Community Readiness Assessment
  • Module 2 (Data Analysis): Strategy for Implementation and Questionnaires
  • Module 3 (Site Visits/Surveys): Surveys and Interviews
  • Module 4 (Site Visit Analysis): Discussion of Results
  • Module 5 (Final Report): Purdue and Community Write Report

Stay tuned… Next month, in this column, we will unpack Module 1!